Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Hiccups, stairs, and siestas

I have had hiccups for the last five minutes and will probably continue to have hiccups for the rest of this post. If you did not know I usually only have a hiccup or two a day, but when I get them they last forever! Erin has had hiccups several times today because we woke up at 3 am and got on a plane to Rome at 625. It was freakishly early, but that's the earliest travel we have for the rest of the trip, so that's something to look forward to! I am pretty sleepy though.

Speaking of sleepy, I just recently learned the word siesta (Spanish for nap in case you didn't know either). Since learning that word I've taken siestas on the Louvre grass, the Eiffel tower lawn, and plan to in Rome as soon as I get off the internet. Funny though that I never took one in Madrid. Do siestas prevent you from sleeping well at night? I don't think I've ever really had a problem with them... It's nice to relax after running around all over the place. My feet were literally killing me in Paris, but they've gotten a lot better since then. We didn't walk much in Madrid though compared to Paris and probably Rome.

Stairs. They are the essence of Paris. We walked up hundreds and very likely thousands of stairs every day! Trust me, it begins to hurt after a while. It's weird to walk so much here when in the US I do very little walking. At school I walk to class and such, but here we're walking several miles every day. It's intense. I really hope I'm more in shape by the end of it though!

Two thoughts for today: Europeans are crazy drivers. There is also more graffiti in Rome than I've seen in any other city.

Monday, July 28, 2008

1st class train rides are not worth the cost...

Hello ladies and gents,

Our lovely group has reached Madrid, but it took four seperate trains (not including the metro), a broken down train, 1st class tickets on one train (there were no other tickets), and 20 hours. All of the travel made us take an overnight train and we missed a day in Madrid. The hostel charged us money because they said we didn´t cancel 24 hours in advance when Bethany called and emailed them three days in advance. We´re trying to get our money back and if we do we at least saved money on the overnight train. The 1st class ticket was €25 though which offsets the savings... And the meal they gave us wasn´t that great. Enough of that nonsense though, sorry for boring you with details.

Last night we went out to a dance clud in Madrid and we all had an excellent time. I tried a drink called the Spanish Flag and it was actually pretty good (probably because it had a lot of grenadine). Stephen has a cold though, so we´re hanging out around the hostel for a little bit so he can get more sleep. I´m glad my medkit came in use though! I brought musinex and he told me I was his saviour. It´s good to know that I did a pretty good job packing. I had to pack more than everyone else though because I´m going directly to my archaeology dig. I´ve got a sleeping bag, two sports bras, two shorts, and four shirts specifically for the dig. My bag is a little heavier than everyone else´s bags but I´m strong enough to handle it!

Before I left for the trip everyone was joking with me about alcohol because I´m allowed to drink in Europe, but not the US. Since I´ve been in Europe I had a great night with my friends our 2nd night in Paris because we went out to a nice dinner and then went to this awesome little bar where the owner didn´t speak English. We all had a glass of wine and just chatted for a while and it was great. Jan tried her first sip of wine and refused to have more! It´s frustrating that the drinking age is 21 in the US instead of 18 because it prevents us from going out and having those types of nights or even going out with parents in restaurants. I like the idea of having a lower drinking age as long as the parents are present. Thoughts?

Today we´re going to see some Spanish churches and squares and check out some authentic Spanish food. We tried some last night and I was a little scared, but it was delicious! I hope I enjoy to food the whole trip as much as I did last night. We´re also going to a flea market or something to check out some shopping options. I didn´t buy anything from Paris, but I´ve got to start loading up on these places! My pack is going to be pretty heavy by the end of it...

Until Rome!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Oh Paris, how will I survive you?

After four flights around the US and Europe the airline loses Ally and my bags. It was slightly frustrating to wear the same clothing four days in a row, but Allys bag and my study abroad bag showed up this morning. The trip was a little hectic and we almost missed our flight to Amsterdam, but the planes were nice and Ally and I sat next to each other for three out of four of the flights, which was nice. Since then we have been running around Paris catching the main sights and seeking out good/cheap food. I have enjoyed everything so far, but it is really weird thinking that I will be here for afew months and hopefully will learn the language. I better because I have a French class at AU in the Spring that I have to pass...

Also, the train from Paris to Madrid that we wanted was sold out, so we have an overnight train. It will actually save us the cost of one hotel night, so we end up saving money, yay!

I am having a great time and I cant wait for the next leg of our journey.

Maybe the Mike Mayer show should have an episode of lost AU abroad students in foreign coutries, eh?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Before the Rush

Hello everyone,

One trend that seems to be running around the world is travel blogs. So I gave into peer pressure and have created my own (in case you couldn't tell). This is just as much for me as it is for anyone else. This will be my online journal of my travels and I'll be recording interesting places and experiences along the way that I can somewhat relive later. I hope you enjoy reading my posts and let me know if you have any suggestions, comments, questions, or stories of your own!

My travels begin on Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008 and end December 6th, 2008. I'll be starting off in Paris, then jumping to Madrid, then flying to Rome, then skipping to Venice, making a short stop in Milan (short being the key word, only a few hours), running to Prague, busing to Berlin, swimming to Amsterdam, and then digging to England. For the first 25 days I'll be traveling with Ally, Erin, Bethany, Jan, Andrew, and Stephen. We'll be going from Paris to Amsterdam. From there I'm staying in Newcastle for a few days alone and then hitching a ride to Nenthead, England to participate in an archaeology dig for two weeks. I'll be digging along Hadrian's Wall, a castle, and some stables. Starting September 1st I will be studying at La Sorbonne in Paris, but that won't prevent me from traveling around Europe during my semester. I've already got a ticket to Rome September 11-14 to visit Ally (where she's studying abroad). Erin is studying abroad in Kenya and Stephen and Bethany will both be in Austria.

I've got at least two copies of every document I would ever need (including 8 copies of my passport), a rail pass, super glue, and all sorts of random and essential things I'll need. Ally is flying in today and I'm so excited to see her. My friends and I will be getting together tonight, tomorrow night, and Monday for various activities and we'll even have a packing/last minute meeting on Monday.

I won't have my computer during my trip, but I'll try and buy some Internet time every now and then to update everyone. Have an excellent life until I speak with you next!

One of the only bad things about studying abroad is not being able to watch the Mike Mayer show...